Brewing good coffee at home takes a little practice and some good habits, but over time you’ll find you can create delicious coffee just as easily at home as we do at the coffee bar. Use the following guide to help you on your quest for beautiful coffee at home.
A brief overview of the most important factors in brewing coffee.
Always use good pure water. Bottled water is preferred over filter systems like Brita because the level of solids (TDS) in the water is closer to optimal coffee brewing levels in store bought water or from a Reverse Osmosis filtration system. Bottled water is also usual most free from off flavors and odors.
Coffee brew water should always be just off of a boil. Ideal brewing temperature is from 195 to 205 degrees. The best way to achieve this range is to boil your water and then allow it to rest 30 seconds to a minute before using.
Always use fresh coffee. Coffee is usually best if used no more than 7 to 10 days from being roasted. Coffee that is sealed in a bag will last longer, but after 2 weeks most coffee will begin to lose its subtle nuances of deliciousness.
Grind your coffee just before you use it. Coffee has a myriad of complex compounds, aromatics and flavors. Allowing your coffee to sit ground for hours or days means all of those flavors escape into the air instead of being brewed into your cup.
Grind consistently. Use a grinder that creates consistent particles. When the brew water interacts with your coffee you want it to interact evenly in order to achieve an even extraction. Uneven particles means uneven levels of extraction and may lead to a bitter or off flavored cup.
Grind appropriately. The finer the grind the more extraction. The courser the grind the less extraction. Make sure your level of grind matches the level of exposure your coffee will get with the water. (ie. Press Pot has a greater level of exposure and gets a course grind, Drip has a lesser level of exposure and has a finer grind). Grind is also used to control water flow. A finer grind will slow down the flow of a drip coffee and a courser one will speed a drip. Obviously this will impact our next factor.
A controversial topic. Anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes of brew time seems to be appropriate for most brewing styles all things being equal. More time leads to greater extraction and less time to less extraction. Time is also directly correlated to grind size and to some extent brew style. A full immersion brew (ie. french press) uses a slightly coarser grind and thereby usually requires a little more time for brewing. As a pass thru style, drip brewing requires a slightly finer grind. By it’s nature a drip style brew is fleeting so having more surface area available is important. Also, a finer grind has more resistance to water flow and therefore will lengthen the brewing time.
Stirring a brewing coffee or agitating a coffee while brewing will increase the level of extraction.
PRESS POT (A.K.A. FRENCH PRESS)
– Preheat your press with a bit of warm or hot water
– Boil water
-Measure out your coffee. We like about 1.7 to 2.0 grams of coffee per ounce of water. If you don’t have a scale you can try about 2 level tablespoons of beans for every 6 oz of water.
– Grind coffee with a burr grinder to create a particle that is about the size of coarse sea salt or just a bit coarser.
– Once your water has boiled allow it to cool for 30 seconds before combining with your coffee.
– Fill the press until the “bloom” reaches the top. After 30 seconds to a minute tap the press gently to collapse the bloom and then top off with your remaining water.
– After 3-4 minutes gently push through the “crust” (the cap of ground coffee and gases at the surface of the brewed press) with a spoon.
– Skim off the remaining foam on the coffee if desired then press it. Decant all of your coffee gently from the press and enjoy!
Tip: To keep your press at it’s best always clean it immediately after decanting.
Manual Drip (a.k.a. pour over)
There are many styles of manual drip (Chemex, Melita, V60, etc.) Below is a basic outline on a general pour.
– Boil water
– Pre-wet and pre-heat your filter.
– Measure out your coffee. Use guidelines set out in our press pot guide. Grind finer than you would for a press. Try a grind that resembles a something between a coarse and a fine salt.
– Pour in your coffee grounds and level them out. With a spoon make a hollowed out impression in the middle of the coffee bed. This will help to make sure that all of your coffee gets saturated with your initial pour.
– Using a water kettle with a narrow goose neck if possible, pour a thin stream of water to the center of your coffee bed then radiate slowly out until your coffee is saturated then stop. You should have roughly double the amount of water as coffee in the initial pour ( i.e. 1 oz. of coffee to 2 oz. of water). Allow for a 30 second “bloom”.
– Resume pouring after the bloom. Do a quick spiral to re-saturate the coffee and then focus on a steady center pour for the durations of the brew. Just before your allotted water is parceled out do one more quick spiral out with your water stream to break up the coffee crust. When you are finished pouring do a quick gentle stir with a spoon to insure the coffee and the water stay together until the coffee has completely drained out.
More methods and updates to come…